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Bithumb has suspended issuing new virtual accounts to crypto traders starting on August 1 after failing to renew the contract with its bank. These accounts are part of the real-name system enforced by the Korean government earlier this year. Only three exchanges in the country are now reportedly able to open new virtual accounts for their customers.
Bithumb Halts Issuing New Virtual Accounts
Crypto exchange Bithumb has announced the suspension of new virtual account issuance starting on August 1. With a 24-hour trading volume of $ 245,786,110 at the time of this writing, Bithumb currently ranks as South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, according to Coinmarketcap.
Business Korea elaborated:
Bithumb, one of South Korea’s four biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, will stop issuing new virtual accounts from August as it has failed to renew a contract with NH Nonghyup Bank.
However, the news outlet noted that “customers who already have virtual accounts can use them for deposit and withdrawal services.” For Bithumb customers, virtual accounts are needed to deposit or withdraw Korean won.
According to Etoday, the bank has given Bithumb a one-month grace period. During this time, it will continue to provide deposit and withdrawal services for existing accounts. However, the publication noted that “it will become difficult to use existing virtual accounts if the contract renewal is finally terminated.”
Using the Real-Name System
Real-name virtual accounts are part of the system aimed at preventing money laundering and increasing transparency, implemented by the Korean government at the end of January. The regulators want all crypto trading accounts to be real-name ones but are met with a number of challenges.
The biggest problem is that banks only offer this service to four of the country’s largest crypto exchanges. The rest of the exchanges still use corporate accounts which the regulators are trying to phase out citing that they are more prone to money laundering.
The four exchanges receiving real-name services were Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit. Each had been increasing its efforts to comply with the anti-money laundering (AML) regulation. In May, Bithumb said it will lower withdrawal limits for traders not using the real-name system. “We have decided to gradually reduce the withdrawal amounts in the Korean won because it is raising concerns that bank accounts for unconverted withdrawals may become a target of various financial crimes,” an official of the exchange said at the time.
Bank Refuses to Renew Bithumb’s Contract
When the real-name system was first introduced, “the government forced cryptocurrency exchanges to renew the service contract with banks every six months in a bid to encourage them to make continuous efforts to prevent money laundering,” Business Korea detailed.
The first renewal was the end of July. Upbit, Coinone, and Korbit were able to renew their contracts with their banks. However, Bithumb’s request for renewal with NH Nonghyup Bank was denied. The news outlet quoted an official of the bank describing:
We have decided not to renew the contract because Bithumb still has problems in protecting consumers and information and preventing money laundering.
“The bank thinks that Bithumb’s data processing systems have flaws in light of the recent hacking incident, which caused the exchange a loss of 18.9 billion won (US$ 16.88 million),” the publication added. Previously, Bithumb also had a contract with Shinhan Bank for the real-name service but it was terminated due to increased risks from multiple security breaches, Shinhan previously explained.
An official from Bithumb was quoted by the news outlet, “we have a consensus with Nonghyup Bank on renewal of the contract. We are planning to iron out our different views on some legal expressions and start issuing virtual accounts soon.”
What do you think of Bithumb not being able to open new virtual accounts? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Nonghyup Bank, Joongang Daily, and Bithumb.
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“Deposits/Withdrawals Notice,” came the post title from popular Indian cryptocurrency exchange Unocoin this week. “As per orders from RBI,” the exchange explained, “bank INR withdrawals and INR Deposits have temporarily been disabled. Once an alternative method of funding is identified and deployed, we will resume the deposit and withdrawal services.”
India Crypto Exchange Unocoin Suspends Withdrawals and Deposits to Comply with Central Bank Orders
Ahead of an anticipated regulatory move and potential clarification by the government of India on the subject of cryptocurrencies, popular exchange Unocoin suspended fiat deposits and withdrawals, noting “Cryptoasset(coin) deposits and withdrawals are ON @ Unocoin & Unodax; Using INR Balance Buy and Sell of BTC/ETH is ON @ Unocoin; Crypto-rupee and crypto-crypto pair trading are ON @ Unodax.”
RBI is the Reserve Bank of India, the country’s central bank; INR is the international short expression for the India rupee (₹), its fiat currency. Traditional banks were placed under strict orders this spring by the RBI to stop dealing in cryptocurrencies altogether.
Exchanges filed suit, a petition, against the RBI’s policy, making its way eventually to the Supreme Court of India. Just days ago, the Court upheld the central bank’s decision, suggesting a definitive ruling on the issue will come this fall.
As a measure to mitigate against drawing further ire from officials, exchanges such as Unocoin have tried to find workarounds. Crypto trades for crypto is one step, and it does appear peer-to-peer arrangements will only see benefit from the crackdown.
Just recently, the company’s Unodax revealed 17 crypto-only trading pairs, including bases made from bitcoin core (BTC), ethereum, and XRP. BTC is matched, for example, with BCH/BTC, ETH/BTC, LTC/BTC, XRP/BTC, BTG/BTC, GNT/BTC, CVC/BTC, ZRX/BTC, and OMG/BTC.
As we recently reported, “an unnamed senior official from the Ministry of Finance” insisted they’ve already drafted regulatory language and “consultation is on with all the stakeholders…before coming up with the final paper. We expect it to be ready by September. ‘The ministry has constituted an interdisciplinary committee under the chairmanship of Special Secretary (Economic Affairs) to examine the regulatory framework regarding virtual currency,’ [a regional publication] detailed. ‘SEBI and RBI have expressed some reservations regarding clauses in the initial draft.’”
What do you think ultimately the government of India will decide? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images via Pixabay, Twitter.
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Facebook said Friday it has suspended Boston-based analytics firm Crimson Hexagon while it investigates how it collects and shares Facebook and Instagram’s user data.
Facebook has been facing increased scrutiny over how third-party firms use its data since news broke in March that data firm Cambridge…
South Korea has suspended its summertime civil defense drills aimed at preparing against a North Korean attack to keep alive a positive atmosphere for nuclear diplomacy with the North. Seoul’s decision on Tuesday to “temporarily suspend” the nationwide civilian drills had been anticipated since the United States and South Korea…
Crypto exchange Huobi notified its Japanese customers via e-mail on Wednesday that it will be closing accounts of users who are residents of Japan. According to Huobi, their decision came up as a result of compliance issues with the Japanese law.
No Japanese Traders on Huobi
Huobi Pro reportedly plans to remove the Japanese page from its website as of July 2, and stop providing trading services to Japanese residents. Although the announcement is not yet visible on the official company homepage, further details are expected to appear in the coming hours, a Telegram administrator for Huobi said.
On its disclaimer page, Huobi states that the company deals with electronic assets through the internet and telecommunication network, complying with the laws of each country when conducting business activities. Huobi Global Limited is a company registered and established in the Republic of Seychelles, under its relevant laws.
Huobi also notes that it is not registered as a virtual currency exchange business under the “funds settlement law of Japan.” Therefore, it does not conduct any virtual currency exchange business in the country. The company finally points out that it respects the Japanese law and has not solicited any persons who reside in Japan (individuals or corporations).
Over the past few months, the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) kept imposing new sanctions on cryptocurrency exchanges, towards which some Japanese traders have expressed their frustration. Nevertheless, they also believe that government rules and crypto regulations will benefit the local crypto industry in the long run.
“It’s really problematic that the FSA doesn’t give us the heads-up before announcing business improvement orders for instance that lead to a temporary halt of business [of the company which was issued the business improvement order]. It messes up everything, suddenly,” said Mas Hihara, a Japanese blockchain technologist, ICO adviser and entrepreneur.
In China, despite authorities officially banning virtual currencies from trading in renminbi (CNY), it is rumored in the industry that the Chinese government is still showing interest in the virtual currency. According to some reports, there is a chance that Beijing would actually invalidate the ban on virtual currency trading.
What do you think of Huobi halting trading services for Japanese residents? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images via Shutterstock.
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This week the Twitter handle @Bitmaintech was locked down because Twitter administrators claimed the account belongs to a 4-year-old. The Twitter handle’s owner and Bitmain’s head of marketing have complained to the social media company’s support team and Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey. The account lockdown marks the second high profile bitcoin-related account that’s been banned from Twitter in just a few months.
The Official Bitmain Tech Twitter Account Has Been Suspended
On June 14 Bitmain Tech’s head of marketing Nishant Sharma tweeted to his followers that the company’s official Twitter account @Bitmaintech had been banned from Twitter. At the moment the Twitter account is completely inaccessible to the public and the Beijing-based company’s active ad campaigns have been paused.
Bitmain’s account accumulated thousands of Twitter followers over the past four years and now the account is unable to post or utilize the social media platform in any manner until the case is resolved.
“The @Bitmaintech account is temporarily inaccessible because apparently, Twitter thinks that the people behind the account are as old as Bitmain i.e. 4 years old,” says Sharma.
It should be back soon (and long before Bitmain turns 13). @Jack help please. Case# 85911059
The Recent @Bitcoin Account Suspension
The account removal comes at an awkward time for the Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, who has been asked to address multiple issues tied to the social media platform. For instance, just recently the @Bitcoin account was banned and the topic was very controversial. The account with over 750,000 followers was initially suspended and then the account was restored with a much lower follower count than it had prior to the ban. Some people accused Dorsey of being biased and showing a conflict of interest towards supporters of the Lightning Network (LN) by allowing the banning of the @Bitcoin account. The reason for this speculation is due to Dorsey’s recent investment into the LN project.
Legitimate Accounts Banned, but ETH Bot Impersonation Thrives
Twitter users within the cryptocurrency industry are also dealing with the vast amounts of scamming ETH bots that have cloned nearly every well-known person in the crypto-community. The ETH bots have managed to scam millions worth of ether because Twitter will not remove the fraudulent accounts impersonating digital currency luminaries. So essentially people are pretty frustrated that Twitter has managed to ban and censor legitimate users like @Bitcoin and @Bitmaintech, while allowing fraudulent scammers to run amuck all over the platform.
The case of Bitmain losing it’s official account, because Twitter admins believe it belongs to a four-year-old, seems absurd, but Twitter has been a whacky place lately, and the company hasn’t been very responsive. The issues with Twitter also follows the recent accusations and admissions stemming from other social media platform CEOs abusing their powers. Back in 2016, the Reddit CEO Steve Huffman admitted to editing comments on the pro-Donald Trump subreddit, r/the_donald. This year Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has been scrutinized for selling user data to Cambridge Analytica. And now Twitter users are complaining about banned accounts and censorship and many of them are pointing their fingers at Jack.
What do you think about Bitmain’s Twitter account getting banned because admins believe the account belongs to a four-year-old child? Do you think Jack Dorsey and Twitter have a lot of explaining to do? Let us know your thoughts on this subject in the comment section below.
Images via Pixabay, Bitmaintech, the Twitter logo, @bitcoin, @bitmaintech, @laurashin
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Hitbtc has suspended its services for Japanese residents to avoid any trouble with the country’s financial regulator since it is not authorized to operate in Japan. Users with Japanese IP addresses will be asked to provide their residency information within the exchange’s know-your-customer (KYC) procedure to prove they are not residents of Japan.
Suspending Services in Japan
Hitbtc, the world’s eighth largest crypto exchange according to Coinmarketcap, has announced a service suspension for Japanese residents.
On its website, the Hong Kong-based exchange added a new section called Service Restriction to the Legal Information page of its Terms of Service. “You shall not use our services and immediately cease using those if you are a resident or become a resident at any time of the state or region where Hitbtc is not authorized to act,” the exchange wrote, adding:
For the avoidance of any doubt and in accordance with the Japan Payment Services Act, Hitbtc has temporarily suspended providing virtual (crypto) currency exchange services to residents of Japan.
The exchange elaborated, “In case our technology detects that you use our services from an IP address registered in Japan, or any other services registered in Japan, you would be asked to confirm that you are not a resident of Japan by providing information on your residency within KYC procedure.”
The exchange subsequently posted a notice on its website on Sunday confirming the suspension, reiterating that it “will apply only to those living in the country.”
Hit Solution Ltd provides access to crypto assets exchange platform under the registered trademark Hitbtc. Since 2013, the platform “has been providing markets for bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, dogecoin, monero, USDT, and more than 300 cryptocurrencies in total,” its website details. The exchange’s 24-hour trading volume at the time of this writing is $ 281,395,577.
Avoiding Trouble with the Regulator
The Japanese Payment Services Act that Hitbtc refers to went into effect in April last year, legalizing cryptocurrency as a means of payments.
However, it also mandates any crypto exchanges operating in the country to register with the country’s financial authority, the Financial Services Agency (FSA). So far, 16 crypto exchanges have been granted a license to operate and the same number were allowed to operate while their applications are pending. Out of the latter 16, the FSA recently revealed that 8 have indicated that they are withdrawing their applications.
The agency has also warned some exchanges that have been operating in Japan without a license. Among them was Binance, the exchange whose 24-hour trading volume often tops the list of the world’s largest. On May 23, the agency sent a letter to Binance and its representative, CEO Changpeng Zhao, warning them about operating in Japan without a license. In April, crypto exchange Kraken announced its withdrawal from the Japanese market, citing high costs to comply with the FSA rules, which became stricter following the hack of Coincheck in January.
In Sunday’s announcement, Hitbtc revealed that it has been working with a Japanese law firm with the aim “to get Hitbtc through the local subsidiary setup and licensing procedure to resume its services” for Japanese residents, adding:
The company is actively hiring for the local office and exploring M&A opportunities to expedite the launch of the Japanese operations in Q3 2018.
What do you think of Hitbtc’s strategy in Japan? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, FSA, and Hitbtc.
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Exchanges Round-Up: Coinbundle Approved for Licensing in PH, MAS to Review Regulations, Okex Suspends WithdrawalsMay 24, 2018 | dailybusinessnews
In recent news relating to cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinbundle has received approval for licensing in The Philippines, the Monetary Authority of Singapore has issued a consultation paper regarding its intention to update its regulatory apparatus for cryptocurrency exchanges, and Okex has announced that it has remedied the error that caused it abruptly to suspend withdrawals and fiat trading yesterday.
Coinbundle Receives Approval for Licensing in The Philippines
Saad Rizvi, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Coinbundle, recently met with the National Secretary of the Philippines to finalize the exchange’s registration through CEZA, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority – a special economic zone offering a number of tax incentives to companies operating in the country’s emerging fintech industry.
“This agreement is a huge win for CoinBundle and will enable us to go to market rapidly and help our users to begin saving and investing. We’re also excited to contribute to the fintech ecosystem of the Philippines and create new jobs here,” Mr. Rizvi said.
Coinbundle is one of fifteen fintech, blockchain, and cryptocurrency companies that are set to invest in CEZA, alongside Hachiman Technology Sdn BHD, MX Exchange Ventures, IPE Global PTE, Inc. Superieur Tech Pte. Ltd., CSM, Madison Blockchain Strategy Investment Company Ltd., Asia Pacific Blockchain Association, Pacificnet Strategic Investments Ltd., SuperAngels Ventures Ltd., and ANX International.
CEZA administrator, Raul Lambino, has welcomed the partnerships, stating: “Working with virtual currency companies allows the Philippines to gain momentum in providing an environment that encourages financial innovation and inclusion, while ensuring that the best interests of the country, the financial system, consumers, and investors are adequately protected. This new development aims to drive the economy forward by creating employment opportunities and boosting job growth. The Philippines will be ready to provide cryptocurrency companies operating here with the manpower they need for their businesses.”
Singapore Expected To Ease Exchange Regulations
The emergence of new trends in trading platforms and technologies, including those pertaining to decentralized and cryptocurrency exchanges, has prompted the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to re-evaluate its legislative apparatus governing the regulation of exchanges.
In a consultation paper issued by the financial regulator, MAS states that it has “observed the emergence of new business models in trading platforms, including trading facilities that make use of blockchain technology, or platforms that allow peer-to-peer trading without the involvement of intermediaries. As the current [recognized market operators (RMO)] regime has been in place since 2002, it is timely to review the regulatory framework for market operators to ensure that it continues to meet the demands of the changing landscape.”
The consultation proposes developing a three-tiered RMO regulatory regime for market operators, and “invites comments from all financial institutions and other interested parties.”
Okex Suspends Withdrawals After Users Experience Glitches
Okex, the third largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, suspended withdrawal and fiat trading services on the 22nd of May, following reports from users that their accounts had suddenly displayed enormous balances.
Several users posted snapshots displaying balances that had appeared to suddenly accrue balances of more than 15,000 BTC (over $ 110 million USD), and other users reported that transfers in USDT were not deducting the sent tokens from their balance, however, the transferred funds were successfully received by the recipient. Abnormal cryptocurrency prices were also reported, with BTC suddenly appearing to have abruptly dropped to $ 6,002, and ETH suddenly jumping up to $ 736.
Okex posted an announcement stating “Due to a technical error, the account balances of a few of our users are not displayed accurately. Of course, you can rest assured that your funds are safe, secured, and not affected by the recent update. We are currently fixing the issue and have suspended withdrawal service and fiat trading.”
As of this writing, Okex’s most recent announcement states that “Fixing of the database error [is] already completed, but we are currently still verifying the data and records of our users. Withdrawal and fiat trading are estimated to resume at approximately 17:00 May 23 (Hong Kong time). Please rest assured that your funds are safe and secured.”
Do you think that more financial regulators should follow in the steps of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and update their guidelines in consideration of the cryptocurrency revolution? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock
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The Los Angeles Times suspended Beijing Bureau Chief Jonathan Kaiman on Tuesday and has launched an investigation into an allegation of sexual misconduct.
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